Diplomacy: American and Iranian, part 2

Last week the Obama administration released five Iranian Quds Force commanders from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (occasionally described in press reports as “diplomats”) who were coordinating terrorist attacks in Iraq. Commening on the release of the terrorists, Andrew McCarthy cited Michael Ledeen’s report that the Obama administration had negotiated the release of Roxana Saberi in exchange for the release of the detained Quds force commanders and others.

Ledeen now returns to the subject in “I’ll give you dozens of terrorists, you give me one journalist, OK?” Ledeen reports that he “has been told” of an agreement that he describes as follows:

In early May, the deal was arranged: more than thirty Iranian “VIP” detainees would be released (first to the Iraqis, then to the Iranians), and then, in the fullness of time, several hundred (repeat, several hundred) others of less importance. Within days, Iraqi leader Maliki flew to Iran to work out the details. Saberi was quickly released, and the triumphal return to Iran for the Five was scheduled for shortly after the Iranian elections.

Ledeen also takes note of the intriguing comment by former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati interview on state television last week. The Washington Post rerports that Velayati said: “America accepts a nuclear Iran, but Britain and France cannot stand a nuclear Iran.” Ledeen speculates:

Why would Velayati, one of the nastiest characters in the cabal around Supreme Leader Khamenei, say such a thing? My guess is that American acceptance was wigwagged to the Iranians during the Saberi negotiations by an authoritative administration personage.

Ledeen’s post, speculative as it is, explains a lot, all of it discouraginly consistent with the public face of the Obama administration.

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